The enemies of freedom
do not sleep. They plot. They do not dream. They destroy. They do not imagine
a better life for their people, they can only seek to impose a culture of
death on everything and everyone around them.
If there was any doubt about the fascist nature of the enemy we face in Al
Qaeda and Iraq, it must surely be put to rest now. The latest cycle of violence
in the country suggests a Nazi mentality -- brown shirts taking to the streets
to trample upon the rights and hopes of millions of people.
Interestingly enough, their targets are not simply American soldiers, who,
if one wanted to stretch the case, might be considered a legitimate military
target. No, the fascists go after newspaper editors, municipal leaders, Red
Cross workers, United Nations humanitarian workers, innocent civilians. Any
death will do.
These are the same people that gave us 5,000 dead Kurds, compliments of Saddam's
gas attacks, mass graves, torture chambers, rape rooms, prisons for the children
of political dissidents, and two wars that resulted in the deaths of close
to a million people.
Whatever the wisdom of the Bush policy in Iraq, and one can debate tactics
all day long, there can be no doubt that in Iraq we are confronting, directly,
the same people who destroyed the World Trade Center and have promised an
unending war against freedom and democracy.
If there has ever been a clearer case of right against wrong in the past
generation, I can't recall it. Those who opposed military action face the
burden of offering an alternative to the painful and destructive war that
continues, and will continue, for some time.
Most the criticism aimed at the president from the Democratic side is meaningless.
It contains no answer to the threat we face. Indeed, compared to many of
the candidates, President Clinton, who missed several opportunities to take
out Osama, looks like a hawk.
But the critics and Donald Rumsfeld are right in this regard. Tactics have
to change. The enemy is, in fact, even more addicted to death and violence
than we anticipated. They will stop at nothing, even mass killings of their
own people on their own holy days, to deter the democratic experiment that
has been unfolding.
It is also time to quit being naïve. Many Iraqis do consider us liberators,
but they are also fearful still, and with good reason. Why was a major leader
of the Iraqi democratic movement sitting alone in a domino café, easy
prey to his killers? Why was a security perimeter not set up around the Al
Rashid Hotel when Paul Wolfowitz was there on a fact-finding mission? Why
is internal security seemingly so lax, despite some 200,000 troops and police
on the streets?
These are basic questions that suggest that Americans and Iraqis both need
to toughen up their approach to the enemy. We have not won the peace. We
are still at war. The luxuries of peace are not yet there to be enjoyed.
Top leaders of the new Iraqi government need protection and support. Iraq
needs to build a tough security force, its own FBI, to go after with full
vigor those who murder for the pure joy of it.
And the critics in this country need to understand that unless their criticism
is constructive and to the point of derailing the fascist enemy we confront,
it is counter-productive and deadly for our men and women in uniform and
our friends in the region.
The Democratic candidates should be speaking in one voice, and that voice
would say simply this: we won't lose this war, we won't run, we won't quiver,
we will stop the forces of fascism in their tracks for the sake of freedom,
democracy, faith and our own families.
They can quibble about the details if they like, but some of what is coming
from the Democratic left is border-line treasonous and irresponsible. We
and they are left with this admonition: beware the fascists. Beware Saddam.